India has rejected a donation offer from the owner of Mahatma Gandhi’s personal effects, set for auction today in New York, the Times reports. James Otis, a peace activist who owns Gandhi’s glasses, watch, and sandals, wanted India to exhibit the items or increase spending on its poor to 5% of GDP. Even Gandhi “would not have agreed to conditions,” an official said.
India maintains that it “cannot enter into such agreements where it involves specific areas of allocation of resources.” An Indian court filed an injunction against Otis and the auction house, but officials in New York acknowledge that it has no jurisdiction. Some buyers—the government included—have pledged to bid on the items in order to give them back to India.